Recency, frequency and the sales effects of TV advertising

Andrew Roberts, Taylor Nelson Sofres, presents a further analysis of the findings of the TVSpan project

Andrew Roberts

For many years advertisers have pondered the question: what is the most effective weight or frequency of advertising exposure? Traditional practice has favoured bursts of advertising whereby consumers see a concentration of spots within a short period. More recently, it has been argued that advertising for fmcg products works best by constantly reminding consumers about the brand and, therefore, the advertising should be spread over time, so that no more than one exposure is seen in the period immediately prior to purchase.

At the heart of this question are three related issues.

  • For how long does advertising continue to influence consumers' purchase decisions after it has been seen?
  • Does increasing the frequency of exposure produce proportionate increases in consumers' propensity to purchase?
  • Do advertising exposures seen very recently have a significantly different effect?